A Very Extroverted Weekend

Monday, March 30, 2015

I love my friends, but I could easily go several weekends in a row without seeing anybody and being completely happy with that.  But, in my attempt to do everything possible to keep myself busy during the deployment, I have been trying to make an effort to get out more.  This weekend was probably the most I've been around people in a long time.

It started with an early morning drive to class with Mac.  Being in a room full of people all walking in different directions and no one paying attention to where they are going is basically my definition of hell, but luckily each of those people had an adorable dog attached to them so it made it not so bad.
Mac's favorite part of class is when we leave and he gets to sniff the pee of a thousand other dogs

After dropping Mac off from class Miranda and I went to the mall.  The MALL! Crazy, I know.  What is even crazier is that I was the one who prompted the trip.  I love my Amazon Prime account, but sometimes I need to see things in person before I buy them and that requires me to journey out in public unfortunately.

Despite not actually buying anything there, I managed to survive for a few hours without having to find a corner to curl up in and cry.  Success!

Feeling very accomplished I headed back home, threw on my pjs (despite it only being 2pm) and commenced couch snuggling with a book in hand.

Then two friends from out of town (Scott and Alanna) texted to see what I was doing.  They wanted to stop by so I struggled back into some pants and made my way up stairs.  Luckily having a two year old in the house takes most of the work out of entertaining people and everyone could just enjoy watching her run in circles (literally) in my room.
The extroversion didn't stop there though!

They wanted to get out and do something.  I was so so tempted to go back to my couch but I went out instead.  Luckily we were going out for ice cream which is the easiest way to lure me out of my nesting spot.

From there we went to Alanna's house where we just hung out for a bit until Miranda showed up again and we headed down to Waltham for dinner, drinks, and dessert at the Mederos/McA'Nulty household.  It was a wonderful dinner with some great conversations and, despite the day being completely exhausting, it was a very good day.

I'm just realizing now that all of that just happened on Saturday and I didn't even leave my house on Sunday... so I guess one super extroverted day over powers any of my normal introverted activities in one weekend.

Blog Mood Swings

Friday, March 27, 2015

I apologize to anyone who checks this blog on a regular basis for the almost hourly formatting changes I was doing.  I got tired of the old layout but really struggled to find something new I liked.  I felt like a teenager trying a new hairstyle every other day.

After probably 30 tries I'm finally happy with how it looks.  And ironically it's not much different from how it started.  Oh, well.  I'm also attempting ads for a bit.  I know I get minimal traffic to this site, but I'm curious to see what it could potential make.  Most likely they'll be up for a month and then I'll get sick of them.  Luckily I've gotten so good at ignoring ads on other websites that it's possible I don't even noticed them on my own. 

This has been one of those weeks.  I feel like I've been bouncing around non-stop and have accomplished a ton of little things, but I don't have much to show for it.  Things like cleaning my computer desktop, making hair appointments, finally hemming my curtains, and finishing a binge watching session of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt aren't really things I'd write home about, but getting all those things done feels really good.

I was assigned two pretty big projects at work.  Neither of them are that exciting, but projects like that make me use my time so much more efficiently and, despite the extra work, I get even more done than usual.  I even get more blog posts than normal done :)

It's supposed to snow again tomorrow.  Infuriating.  I truly do love winter, but this one could not be over soon enough.  I almost caused a head on collision last Saturday taking Mac to training because my sports tires have no traction whatsoever.  I should have known that would be a dumb investment while living in New England, but I've learned from my mistake and won't get them on my next car (which I'm currently shopping for).

Even Mac is over the snow.

Welcome to the World Little Baby Otto

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

One of the biggest things I missed while living in Ireland was having a dog.  I would get so jealous of people out walking their dogs that I decided as soon as I got home I was going to adopt one.  My boyfriend is currently going through those same withdrawls and he has already put the wheels in motion to have a little pup waiting for him when he gets home.

I'd like to introduce you all to Otto.  He was born one week ago today (yes, a St. Patty's Day pup!).
As long as everything goes according to plan, my boyfriend will be able to bring him home that day after we return from our trip to Europe.  Between him coming home, our trip, and this puppy these next few months could be some of the greatest ever.
I'm sure I will be posting many pictures and videos of the little guy, especially once Mac meets him. I'm expecting that may be the cutest thing to ever happen... though I may be a little biased.

Workout Plan

Monday, March 23, 2015

After I finished my sessions with my trainer at the gym back in January, I knew I needed to do something to make sure I kept up with the progress I had made.  I thought back to my half marathon training days and knew some type of schedule was exactly what I needed.

I spent a long time looking for plans online, but so many of them were crazy "10 Days To Flat Abs!" type things.  Most of the workout plans I saw were either a quick fix, or focused on radically changing one area of the body.  I'm sure those are great for a lot of people, but I was looking for something more well rounded that would allow for gradual change over time.  I didn't want to spend two hours a day in the gym, nor did I want to have to do 300 crunches in a sitting.

While I am far from a gym expert (you can tell by the names I made up for some exercises below), I decided to make my own plan.  I had (hopefully) about 10 weeks until Josh came home so I figured that was the perfect length to make this schedule.

I just finished week five and I thought I'd share what I've done so far.  I started off just repeating some of the workouts I had done with the trainer and, depending on how sore I felt a day or two later, I would adapt them as needed.  Around week 3 I started adding one more set of exercises, and this week I'm going to start going five days a week instead of four.

I almost never actually made it to the gym on my Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday schedule, but staying flexible allowed me to get in all four workouts when I could.  I also counted smaller things like training class with Mac (which is definitely a workout itself) and even our small walks.

Although I didn't feel too much of a difference in my body after my time with the trainer, I have absolutely felt a change after five weeks.  I'm down about 5 pounds since I've started this plan and according to my scale, that was all fat loss.  I also feel more muscular than I think I've ever felt before.

Considering this was the the "lighter" portion of my plan, I can't wait to see what happens over the next five weeks.

Past Life Regression: Part 4

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

We then moved on to the last life during this session.  Again, she asked me to imagine a door and to go through it.

I was immediately transported to the beach.  It was a dreary and overcast day, but beautiful.  I sat in the dunes looking out over the water.  Behind me was a small beach cottage.  There was no one around. I was pregnant.  I was completely alone but at peace.

She asked if I knew what year it was.  It felt like the 1970s.

She asked me to move forward in this life.  I was in a house now and I was arguing.  I now had a small child with me, a little girl.  I was fighting with my husband.  I was fearful for both myself and my child.  There had been abuse in the past and I could no longer put up with it.  I had to leave.

She asked me to again move forward.  I was back at the beach.  The small cottage I had seen earlier was now mine. Mine and my child's.  We had our own place now, far from the threats and constant fear.  It may not have been what I expected, but I was content, my child was happy, and we were both safe.

She asked me if I could move forward to see how I feel about all of this in the future. I was at a grandchild's birthday party.  My ex-husband was there.  Despite having been long broken up I felt like we were on amicable terms.  We were both there and happy for what our family had become even if it did not go as planned.

The message from this life would be kind of vague if there weren't some specific things in my life that I felt it was pointing towards.  I'm not experiencing any abuse, but there are definitely some things in my life that I think I just need to make a clean break from.  Perhaps someday I will be able to feel amicable and content with everything, but I may never reach that point if I don't do what I need to now to separate myself from.


Despite that taking four full blogs posts to write up, all of it took less than an hour to experience.  It was definitely different from what I was expecting going into it, but it was still an amazing experience.

So here are my final thoughts on it:

  • I cannot say whether what I was experiencing was a past life or just part of my vivid imagination. The "memories" did not feel any different from the memories I knew were real, but that doesn't mean they weren't just made up.
  • I was crying pretty much through the entire process.  Although I can't say they were real memories, they cultivated very strong and real emotions.
  • It was interesting that when the therapist asked me what I wanted to work on I just defaulted to anxiety, and yet as soon as we started my mind immediately jumped to three much bigger issues that I actually need to address in my current life.
  • So, whether I think these are truly messages from my past lives, or just my mind letting me know what is plaguing it, I feel I really did isolate some things that I should start working on.  I wouldn't recommended this for someone just looking for something fun to try, but as a form of therapy I feel it could be very effective for a lot of people.

Past Life Regression: Part 3

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Part 1
Part 2

After feeling like I got the message that the last past life was trying to tell me, we agreed we should move on to a different life. She asked me to imagine another door in front of me.  She again counted down and then asked me to step through the door.

I was in a market.  Everything around me was built with white powdery rock... possibly limestone.  It reminded me of the material the Coliseum was made from.  There were people all around me.  Everyone was shopping for all types of goods.  I was there looking for an animal skin.  My son needed a blanket.

She asked if I knew when I was.  I felt like I was in ancient Rome.  At the time no year came to mind, but as soon as I finished the regression the year 434bc was engrained in my mind.

She asked me to go to my house.  It was at this point that I realized in this life that I was man.  I went back to my small (also limestone) house, in a narrow alley surrounded by many other small connected houses.

In the house was my wife and son.  I was anxious.  She asked why.

I was going off to war. I was trying to  get everything in place so my family would be alright if I didn't come back.

She asked me to move forward to the time of the war.  I pictured myself and an army marching along water.  We were far from home. She asked how I was feeling.  Not happy.  I felt like this war wasn't justified.  I wasn't protecting my family or my land.  It was all motivated by greed but there was nothing I could do to stop it.

She asked me if I survived the war.  I did.  She asked me to move forward to after I return.  I was back at my house.  She asked how I was feeling.  Angry. Bitter.  It was a long war.  I missed my child growing up and I lost many good friends in battle.  The war had changed me in a bad way.  I was always mad and unhappy now.  Despite having been home from the war for a few years, I felt like it had ruined everything that once made me happy.

She then asked me to move forward to the end of my life.  I was on a small bed in that same house, surrounded by family (my wife, my son, his wife, many grandchildren).

She asked how I was feeling.  I was happy.  At some point prior I had let go of my anger.  I accepted the fact that I could not change what had happened and that I could not get back those lost years, but I could make changes to live the rest of my life forward as happy as possible.

I went from the angry bitter man back to my happy loving self and was able live a good life from that point on.

I think the lesson from this one was pretty clear, too.  I can hold a grudge with the best of them, but I need starting thinking about how holding grudges and getting angry about something beyond my control actually affects me and my loved ones.  I need to work on letting some things go.

See here for Part 4.

Past Life Regression: Part 2

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

See here for Part 1.

We started out by doing some deep breathing exercises.  There was quiet music playing and a little waterfall gently trickling in the background.  I worked on relaxing each part of my body, from my head down to my toes. She asked me to imagine walking down a staircase.  Then imagine roots coming from my feet and grounding me to the earth.  She then had me imagine a white light traveling up my roots into my body and then imagine that light filling every part of me.

By this point I was very relaxed.  I wish I had sat differently because I felt like I was too aware of my head bobbling around on my neck, but I was relaxed enough that I could easily follow her instructions.

She then started counting down.  While she was counting down she told me to remember specific times in my life.  First, when I was 20.  Almost immediately I had a memory come to mind of being in my college dorm room sophomore year.  I wasn't remembering anything specific, just remembering being there.

She then said to think further back to when I was 18.  Again, another instant memory of sitting in my math class with friends senior year.

Then 14.  The easiest of them all, the first thing to come to mind was what I was doing on my 14th birthday.  9/11/2001.  Every minute of that day is perfectly preserved in my memory.

Then 6.  My sister and I running around our new house's living room, still empty because we hadn't moved anything in yet.

3. Playing in my toy box with my cousin. This is preserved on video so I can't say how much is actually my own memory.

In utero.  I just imagined red. Amniotic fluid?

It's around here that my thoughts went from concrete memories to things that were likely just coming from my imagination.  That being said, as she asked me to recall something, an image came to mind just as quickly as the "real" memories I had from within this lifetime.  In fact, they didn't even feel different from the memories of this life time.  

She told me to imagine a door in front of me and to walk through it.  Immediately I could see pine needles under my feet and trees all around me. She asked if I was alone.  I was.  She told me to look around.  I was in a forest and behind me stood a dark wooden house.  She asked if I knew what year it was.  It reminded me of the witch trial era (1690s) though a specific date didn't come to mind.

She prompted me to walk into the house and again asked if there was anyone else there.  Still alone.  I suddenly felt very sad.  This was clearly my own house, but I was completely alone, isolated in the middle of the woods.

She asked me why I was alone, why there was no one with me.  I wasn't sure.

She asked me to stay in that lifetime, but travel to an earlier date.

Again, an image immediately came to mind. I was much younger, a child, and I was running around playing with other kids.  We were in a village square.  I could see water in the distance and the thought of being in a 1690 Massachusetts port town became even stronger.  There were small but sturdy wooden buildings around us and we were just having fun.

She then asked me what had happened between this time as a young happy child with lots of friends to the older isolated person I became.

It was about here that I started crying.  I remembered a fire.  Before the fire it was me and my parents.  After the fire I was alone.  I could picture a fire starting in a neighbors house and my own house catching fire with my parents still inside.

I actually had tears rolling down my cheek at this point.  Whether this was real or not, it absolutely brought out some true emotions in me.

She asked me to jump into the future, past the fire and past my time standing in the woods.

I was old now.  I was near the end of my life.  She asked if I was still alone.  I was.  And I was sad about it.  It seems like I had spent my entire life after the fire alone in the woods, shutting the world out.

She asked what lesson I thought this was trying to teach me.

I didn't explain it to her at the time, but I have had some very sad young deaths in my family.  A cousin died at 21 from muscluar dystrophy, another cousin at 11 from an accident, and uncle (only a year older than my mom) a few year ago from a lifetime of drinking.  And, despite never meeting her, my grandmother's tragically young death (when my father was only two) has always loomed in my memory.

In almost every one of these instances I will admit that I've contemplated how life would be easier if I just shut everyone out.  If you don't love anyone their loss won't hurt you.

The lesson from this life seemed to be shouting to me that this wasn't a better way to live.  I was clearly not happy at the end of my life, so avoid traveling down that path again.  Keep loved ones close despite the fear of losing them someday.  The pain of loss is less than the pain of never having loved.

See here for Part 3

Past Life Regression: Part 1

Monday, March 16, 2015

I have always been fascinated by the more mystical aspects of life.  Ghost, mediums, all of the unseen and unknown forces around us, etc.  I'm captivated by anything that really just can't be proven.  At the same time, however, I'm very much a skeptic.  I've gotten my fortune read multiple times and I've never once actually believe them.  I love ghost stories but I have never experienced one myself.  Despite that, I don't think any amount of bad or non-experiences will lessen my interest in the subject. 

A long time ago my boyfriend lent me a book about past life regressions.  I was immediately intrigued.  The concept is that you are hypnotized and "brought back" to a past life.  Some of the stories in this book were amazing in the amount of detail that was described.  Like my experience with fortune tellers, I didn't necessarily believe what these people were experiencing were ACTUALLY their past lives, but I was still captivated by it.  Despite almost a year going by, my boyfriend remembered my fascination with it and my eagerness to try it and for Christmas got me three sessions with someone who does past life regressions.

These regressions are mainly used as a form of therapy so while some people thought it was weird that my boyfriend essentially paid for therapy sessions for me, I couldn't imagine a more fitting gift.

I want to share my "regression" story, but I though I should first share my overall experience with it:

  • First, I was working with a licensed mental health counselor.  She handles all different types of counseling and therapy so I wasn't going to some mystic in a back alley or walking through a curtain of hanging beads to do this.
  • The therapist told me that we needed to have a "goal" to focus on, some issue to try to get to the root of during the session.  While I really just wanted to do this for fun, I figured I could focus on my anxiety and see if I could make any positive changes with that.
  • She also wanted me to try to get a message from each past life I visited.  She said we wouldn't go back to those lives if there wasn't something specific we were supposed to learn from them.
  •  I was not hypnotized.  That was actually something I was looking forward to since I've never done it before, but the woman I was working with said that was not how she did it and it wasn't necessary for the experience.
  • I do not necessarily believe that what I was experiencing was a "past life".  I of course can't prove it either way, but I definitely didn't feel like I KNEW that this was a past life that I was reliving.
  • That being said, I can absolutely see how this would be an effective therapy technique and despite not feeling like I needed therapy going into this session, I felt like I came out of it having gained a lot (I started crying within the first few minutes if that give you any indication of how it went).  

I'm going to break up my experience into multiple parts because it is pretty long and I want to preserve everything as best as possible without exhausting my poor fingers from typing too much at once.

See here for Part 2.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

It seems like we are always trying to plan a trip down to New Jersey to visit friends but schedules never align all at once.  Somehow more than two of us were available at the same time so we decided to hop in a car and just go for it.

We left Friday night after work but we had a pretty easy ride and got there in almost exactly four hours.  Since we're all elderly, we just hung out for a while until we started dropping like flies. I think I was the first to drop and I'm totally ok with that.

Our hosts made us a wonderful breakfast in the morning and after relaxing around the apartment for a  bit we decided to head into NYC.  It was forecasted to pour all day, however any time we were out walking it just seemed to be misting a bit. 

Despite having breakfast just a few hours before, we all agree we could eat (really there is never a time where I CAN'T eat).  We headed to District Tap House which I believe our hosts have been to a few times.  I'm in the middle of doing a gluten sensitivity test per doctors suggestion so this made going out to eat very interesting, but I managed without struggling too much.  I ended up ordering baby back ribs (something I don't think I've ever ordered while out to eat) and had to skip almost everything on their amazing beer menu but was happy with my Crabbie's Ginger Beer instead.

To make my gluten loving self suffer some more, we went to Reichenbach Hall (a German beer garden) from there.  I don't know how a real person can manage to drink a boot of beer, but our brave friend Brent did it.  I stuck with some cider.

I'm sure I'll talk more about this gluten thing, but considering I went to a pub and beer hall and could easily find alternatives for gluten based products, I have to say it actually wasn't too bad.  It's just hard for me to pass up all that tasty beer.
My little cider compared to the boot
We somehow spent an entire day between those two places.  It say a lot about a group of people when you can just sit there doing nothing (besides eat and drink) and never have a dull moment together.

We all managed to hobble (most of us because of over eating and some because of injury) back to the bus and then on to the apartment.  We spent the rest of the night eating even more and playing ancient Sega and Nintendo games.
Family Fued... 1993 style
The next morning brought some more relaxing with a quick stroll down the the town center for pizza before heading back home.  Despite a large storm hitting Massachusetts, we managed to just skirt around it and didn't hit bad roads until we were back in our home town.

9 Months

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Somehow, miraculously, we've reached nine months into the deployment.  It's crazy to believe that it was last June that I was saying goodbye to him, and even crazier to believe that I could be seeing him again within two months (hopefully!).

It's funny, I feel like I have finally started getting used to him being gone.  I don't miss him any less, but I've just gotten completely used to our routine of communicating online and only seeing each other "in person" via skype.  I've gotten used to my own routine of work, gym, home, bed, repeat.  It was hard for a long time.  Despite the fact that we hadn't been dating for too long before the deployment, I had gotten used to and gotten comfortable with having him in my life on a regular basis.  But now that I've finally reached a new norm,  it's time for me to prepare for him to come back.  This will, of course, be a much better type of adjustment, but it'll be an adjustment nonetheless.

We still don't know when exactly he'll be home, but I have a date in mind that my gut is telling me to look forward to.  We'll see if my gut is anywhere close.  If there's one thing I've learned during this deployment, it's that the army will alway do the exact opposite of what my gut thinks it will.  I'm still holding out hope that they fix that this time around.

$60,000 in Debt: Month 10

Monday, March 2, 2015

I doesn't feel like I've accomplished much this month debt-wise.  I'm targeting my oldest, smallest student loan which, at this point, only has $2,800 left, but I really need to remember that my savings is my current priority.  That being said, I'm hoping that over the next two months I can get that loan crossed off the list and then start attacking the next one (currently $3,956). 

I've been paying for bits and pieces of my trip as I go so while I feel like I'm spending a lot more than I should, I have to remind myself that it's really just lowering the total I planned on saving for the trip.